The start of May is the best time to witness the explosion of colour at Richmond Park's Isabella Plantation.
Set within a 40 acre woodland, Isabella Plantation wows visitors each year with an awesome display of colour at the end of April and beginning of May. The colour comes mainly from the Rhododendrons, Camellias, and Azaleas, and visitors flock to take pictures along the stream paths and by the famous Still Pond. The Azaleas were introduced to the west from Japan in the 1920's by the plant collector Ernest Wilson. In fact the Plantation holds the National Collection of Wilson 50 Kurume Azaelas.
The photos above are all images from my recent visit. More information about Isabella Plantation can be found at the Isabella Plantation Website.
All images © James Edward Hughes 2019
The Armada Portrait is the name given to one of three remaining paintings which show Queen Elizabeth I of England with a backdrop depicting the defeat of the Spanish Armada.
My photograph above shows the copy known as The "Drake" version, and currently forms part of the collection of the Royal Museums Greenwich. It was purchased from Sir Francis Drake’s descendants for the nation for £10.3 million in July 2016 after an appeal by the Art Fund.
“The Armada portrait is a compelling historic icon, illustrating as it does a decisive conflict, inspiring female leadership, maritime power and the emergence of the Elizabethan golden age. This image has shaped our understanding of Gloriana, the Virgin Queen, for over 400 years" - Sir Peter Luff
Behind Gloriana are two seascapes: the left showing the English fireships menacing the Spanish fleet, while the right hand scene shows the Spanish fleet dashed upon the rocky coast of Ireland by the "Protestant Wind."
Newly-formed company Opera Settecento is to give its first public concert at Cadogan Hall and has chosen a Vivaldi opera that has been performed in the UK only once before.
On Thursday this week, Opera Settecento, under the direction of harpsichordist Thomas Foster, will perform Antonio Vivaldi’s 1735 opera Griselda at Cadogan Hall, London.
Opera Settecento is a new opera company specialising in performances of 18th-century opera seria, which is a neglected genre. In a nutshell, the idea is to cast young, up-and-coming singers of great promise alongside established singers of international renown, thus giving those younger singers a masterclass experience. We also wish to build a much larger audience for this musical genre among the general public.
Griselda was performed for the first time in the modern era at Buxton Opera House in 1983, since when it has received no further performances in the United Kingdom. This performance will be the UK premiere of the scholarly edition of Griselda produced by G. Ricordi & Co. of Milan.
The cast will include Contralto Hilary Summers, and Countertenor Andrew Watts. Check out the listing at the Cadogan Hall website.
In a study lead by the UK's Newcastle University, scientists have shown that the land under the ice of the Northern Antarctic Peninsula is rising at the astounding rate of 15mm per year. This, it seems, is due to the nature of the mantle under the Earth's crust in the region, which is flowing significantly faster than previously thought. What scientists thought would take thousands of years is happening in just over a decade. "You can almost see it happening which is just incredible." - PhD student Grace Nield, of the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Newcastle University.
Check out this link for more information: Ice-loss moves the Earth 250 miles down
Have you ever smelt that distinctive fragrence when the rain falls after a dry period? Have you ever wondered what it was called?
Well, wonder no more! The word you are looking for is 'Petrichor'.
Petrichor is a combination of the Greek word 'Petros' meaning 'stone' and the word 'Ichor', which in mythology was the blood of the Gods.
The word particularly describes the release of oils from vegitation, which is then absorbed by the surrounding rock and earth. It is this process that produces the distinctive smell.
No more fumbling for adjectives the next time you want to describe that smell to people!
Stile Galante baroque orchestra, conducted by Stefano Aresi, and Ann Hallenberg are going to record a new CD featuring original cadenzas from one of the most famous, celebrated and important castrato singers of Mozart's age.
After many years of painstaking reseach, Stefano Aresi has compiled the most extended collection ever found of original embellishments, da capos, cadenzas, variations connected to a single castrato's repertoire.
The castrato, whose name is yet to be announced, was one of the most famous, celebrated and important castrato singers of Mozart's age.
Ann and Stefano plan to produce a CD to showcase the sensational discoveries, and also to create a 50 minute documentary to describe in detail the significance of the haul of information they have gathered.
Click on this link to the project's gofundme page to give what you can to this extraordinary endeavour.
A gripping tale, steeped in mythology, enriched with historical detail, and bound together with fantastic artwork and an engaging concept: Alex Anstey's graphic novel, Nine Tenths - The Slider, makes for a gripping read which you will not be able to put down.
CLICK HERE FOR THE REVIEW
Scientists from Newcastle University, the University of Bristol's Glaciology Centre, the British Antarctic Survey and the universities of Edinburgh, Exeter, and York have discovered a massive trench under the ice covering the Ellsworth Subglacial Highlands, a region of Western Antarctica.
The Ellsworth Subglacial Highlands are a line of subglacial highlands in West Antarctica that extend WSW from central Ellsworth Mountains to the vicinity of Mount Moore and Mount Woollard. The scientists researching the area have discovered "a massive subglacial valley up to 3 kilometres deep, more than 300 kilometres long and up to 25 kilometres across. " The bottom of the valley is, in places, more than 2000m below sea-level.
The discovery has given a fascinating insight into the life-cycle of this ancient and intriguing ice-sheet. Due to the "low ice velocities and limited present-day change in the ice-sheet interior," areas in Western Antarctica such as the Ellsworth Subglacial Highlands are key to "establishing the locations from which the West Antarctic Ice Sheet originated and grew." They can also help us to understand the possible effects of Climate Change upon the ice sheet.
 PhysOrg: Scientists discover giant trench under Antarctic Ice. 14/01/2014
 Geological Society of America Bulletin: The Ellsworth Subglacial Highlands: Inception and retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. 20 September 2012
Sergej Eisenstein's classic masterpiece The Battleship Potemkin has to be one of my favourite films, based as it was on the December Revolution in Tsarist Russia in 1905. I will never forget the iconic Odessa Steps sequence: one of the most celebrated scenes in the film. I am happy to say that the whole film is on YouTube: check it out below. For those who have never seen a silent film before, do watch it: it is an amazing piece of cinematography.
Check out this great video of Norwegian bass Nils Christian Fossdal singing Ol' Man River. He gives a great rendition of this beautiful song.
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